California Basking in Record Amount of Electricity from Solar

in science on (#2SKB)
The modern era of solar electricity got under way in 1954 as Bell Laboratory scientists unveiled a “solar battery” made from silicon that was used to power a toy Ferris wheel and a radio. In recent years, solar has boomed as costs have declined and government policies have favored a renewable energy source that can help combat climate change.

California’s solar energy generation hit a record earlier this year, accounting for 6 percent of energy from the California Independent System Operator, which manages the bulk of the state’s flow of electricity. Last year’s growth in solar capacity was greater than all earlier years combined. The state backs solar through financial incentives and a law that requires utilities derive 33 percent of their energy from renewable energy sources by 2020.

Good news for responsible energy generation.

Economics Still Not Quite There? (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-09-19 14:24 (#2SM0)

I really, really wanted to get into solar for my home a year or two ago, until I discovered the hard facts.

1. It is completely unfeasible for a typical home to go completely "off-grid" due to the humongous cost, space, and maintenance required for all the batteries to smooth the day/night load patterns.

2. So the vast majority of installations are "grid-tied", meaning they pull power from the normal grid, and sometimes feed power back into it.

3. Even with the generous incentives, pay-back time for an initial investment is at least 4-7 years, during which time that $20,000 might have been better spent in a mutual fund.

4. I didn't really have $20,000 lying around anyway.

There are leasing options that mitigate some of this, but not entirely. Do you really want to be paying Elon Musk (investor in SolarCity) every month in perpetuity instead of your electric company?
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